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Published: September 10th 2011
Off We Go!
The little blue suitcases are off for more adventures with Max and John
Day One: San Francisco
Why is it that no matter how much time one has to plan and pack for a trip the last day is always a mad scramble to get to the airport? This year we are blessed with Victoria our beautiful volunteer chauffer who gets us to the gates on time. A celebratory glass of wine, a stroll to pre-stretch out our legs to get ready for a 10 hour flightand we are up in the air right on time. By 7PM we are above the golden pink clouds and rolling fog: the Golden Gate Bridge peaks out, and we are on our way.
Let me tell you straight up that Premium Economy Class ROCKS! And it's not just the leg room—we actually have some—there is the sparking wine before take-off, the hot wash cloths for a bit of a scrub up before dinner, the little bottles of wine with dinner, and Couvoisier served after.
It could be easy to get used to this.
Day Two: London Heathrow to Cork, Ireland
We fly through the night too quickly into the next day. With very little sleep after hours of turbulence and,
leg room or not, trying to doze sitting up, we proceed through Heathrow to long lines at Customs, find a cart, load up our luggage, and then attempt to find Aer Lingus. After a limping long walk-how does one come down with a heel blister while sitting?-we find the Check-In, turn over our bags and go off on errands. First we find marvelous, dense, and sticky bandages for my poor heel. These are an English Miracle Cure! Then we try to find a cheap cell phone and can't, so what else could we do but go to the Tin Goose Pub and have lunch and an ale?
I think that the ale (actually John had a Murphy's Lager) was not the best decision. Full and drowsy, the last hours of our 5 hour lay-over are very, very slow ones. Finally we board the plane for Cork, Ireland....and wait on the tarmac for almost an hour. I think we both sleep a good deal of the wait time. The flight time is a bit over an hour and we try to get a glimpse of Ireland as we begin our approach, but it is all clouds and fog. I
How did this Irishman fall so far away from beer?
cannot see through the fog until we are close enough to discern cars from cows, but the amazing pilot brings us down like silk and into what appears to be a cow pasture. It reminds me of landing in Peoria, Illinois. We are certainly not in California anymore, Toto. We left sunshine and 96 degrees and emerge into rainy 60 degrees or something or other centigrade. I am now very happy with my decision to book into a modern hotel near the airport: picking up a rental car to drive through the rain, in the dark, on winding roads to a romantic Bed and Breakfast Inn just sounds down right frightening in our exhausted stupor. We wait the equivalent of the Irish “just a few minutes” (twenty) for the hotel shuttle.
We are in Ireland in the most ridiculous hotel I have ever seen. It looks as if the investors got stoned one night and said “Let's do a Retro Hotel” but everyone had a different idea of just exactly what that meant. There are large circle recesses punched out of the walls and ceilings and filled with various colors of neon lights. The breakfast dining room is
Alan the Greeter
Crazy! We are coming off the plane and see a picutre of our neighbor! Well, at least they must be Twins Seperated at Birth.
supposed to look like an airplane, but has Irish murals and bric-a-brac and glitter on the door jams and window frames. We eat dinner in the dining room of the bar which has aqua plastic half circle domes – think of a timpani- filled with Christmas ornaments and little white lights, covered with sheets of round glass to serve as dining tables. These semi-spheres are gruesomely uncomfortable since you can't get your feet under them and must sit splay legged. I could go on, but gin helps. John finds some bad red wine and we have a surprisingly good dinner. It is late, we are beyond jet-lagged, and we don't know which suitcases have what, but we are in Ireland!
Max and John
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